The State Department touted the work of the Southern Poverty Law Center and George Soros's Open Society Foundation in announcing a new grant extended to British organizations to create a program teaching high school students about the United States' tactics in countering hate crimes.
The Embassy of the United States in London included the progressive groups among "organizations of interest" listed in the grant description of the "Youth Exchange on Social Cohesion" program, through which $50,000-75,000 will be awarded for the development of a program that brings UK high school students stateside to learn about American strategies in building communities that prevent violent extremism and radicalization.
The SPLC, a legal advocacy and civil rights watchdog, purports to combat racist organizations and individuals, but has been panned for classifying Muslim moderates as "anti-Muslim extremists." Maajid Nawaz, a prominent UK Muslim reformer who founded an anti-radicalization organization, is suing the SPLC for identifying him as an Islamophobe. The SPLC has also refused to designate "antifa" a hate group, while applying that epithet to politically conservative and religious groups.
Soros transferred a massive $18 billion to his Open Society in October to fund its lobbying efforts. Counted among the country's most influential left-leaning organizations, Open Society has extensively bankrolled grassroots activism, while Soros was a major funder of the Latino group that produced an advertisement for the recent Virginia gubernatorial election depicting Republican candidate Ed Gillespie as allied with white supremacists. Gillespie lost the election.
The left-leaning Anti-Violence Project and Human Rights First were also linked to as "organizations of interest," though the grant description did not make clear if these groups were being recommended to applicants as potential partners.
The organization selected to run the "Youth Exchange on Social Cohesion" will admit up to 10 British teens aged 15 to 18 years old to be "immersed" in American society over two to three weeks this summer. Participants will visit three to four states to explore programs that promote tolerance and inclusion in communities and schools, and be asked to consider how the two countries can together "promote hope and inclusion while standing up to hate and extremism."
The project aims to instruct teenagers on how to combat the "alienation, social exclusion, marginalization and limited social mobility [that] are oft-sited factors leading to radicalization and violent extremism of young people."
Participants must have a "demonstrated an interest and aptitude for social and community activism with counterparts in the U.S."
The London embassy did not respond to questions about the endorsement of these progressive organizations.